Michelle Lougee

Environmental Art • Sculpture • Ceramics • Illustration • Education

Pomus Ingenium

Pomus Ingenium (Engineered Fruits) is a series of genetically altered fruits presented in a laboratory installation. These fruits can have gills, mouths or teeth, and some require cages or muzzles. Other specimens are manufactured using bolts, stitches or sutures. The creatures seem to have found their own uses for our materials. Banksia Communis is a nest of pods entangled and connected by a bevy of wires. The wires, now void of any usefulness, have taken on new life in the pods, like a snail finding a new home.

The scientist in charge of the laboratory appears to have just stepped out for a moment, and has left a number of experiments in progress. On a lab bench rests a collection of natural objects and documentation of plant species. It is cluttered with numeric labels for collected specimens, notes, and reference books.

For centuries, biologists have struggled classifying organisms into groups, and it seems that this is the function of this particular lab. The genetically altered (at least to us) vegetables on the worktables each represent a different combination of animal and plant, animal and technology, or animal and refuse. But they are certainly related. What isn't apparent from the laboratory is why. Is this a place of research or of creation? And what do these scientists hope to achieve through their studies? - M.L.